© Tom McIlveen

Winner, 2014 ‘Alan Llewellyn Award’ for bush verse in the Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts Festival Inc. Literary Competition.

Australians love to spin a yarn and very often yearn,
to share a joke or anecdote recited in return.
Our fascination stems from early pioneering days,
when men would share a rum around the campfire’s cheery blaze.

The salt of all the Earth it seems, had gathered here en masse,
to show the world that wit is far superior to sass.
Our convict predecessors must have harmonised in song,
and improvised their melodies, for us to sing along.

They spoke in bush vernacular, laconic and discreet;
a nasal twang that made the English vowels obsolete.
No doubt the queen of England would have hardly been amused,
to hear her sacred language desecrated and abused.

Our slang was rarely vulgar, just a trifle unrefined,
and words were often mispronounced, and phrases misaligned.
The timbre of the voices from the bush and city streets,
had blended with the sounds of cockatoos and parakeets.

Perhaps that’s why our parlance is peculiar and unique,
and why we drop the consonants when learning how to speak.
The English plum has decomposed, is rancid and has soured,
though difficult to swallow, it is finally devoured!

Although it’s been digested, you will hear it now and then,
especially when speaking with New England gentlemen.
You’ll hear it in Woollahra and of course it still survives,
amongst the toffs of Mosman and the elegant Saint Ives.

In Sydney’s western suburbs there’s a whole new dialect…
that’s spoken with an accent… (middle eastern I suspect.)
They drawl their vowels constantly, and seem to misconstrue
the structure of our syllables and even drop a few.

Our matriarch and queen today is somewhat horrified
to hear her posh vernacular so plainly misapplied.
She cringes when she hears them sing…Advance Australia Fair,
and bows her head in sorrow and impervious despair.

Our once unique vernacular is changing yet again,
as Generation Y becomes offensive and profane.
They’ve learnt to speak American…with Harlem’s Ghetto rap−
Forsaking our Akubra, for a Yankee baseball cap!

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